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Top 5 Reasons People Abuse Drugs and Alcohol

Man thinking about reasons for drug abuse and alcoholism

If someone you love is affected by addiction, it can be challenging to understand their reasons for drug or alcohol abuse. Maybe you’ve suggested they enroll in alcohol or drug addiction treatment, but they’ve refused. It is frustrating. However, it might help if you understand the causes of drug abuse and alcoholism. Call 208.486.0130 to speak with someone from Northpoint Recovery’s team about the common reasons for abusing drugs or alcohol and what our rehab center can do to help your loved one.

1. Using Drugs and Alcohol to Cope with Mental Health Issues

If you’ve never had a diagnosable mental health issue—such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression—then it’s difficult for you to understand the emotional and often physical pain it can cause. Many people use drugs and alcohol to help themselves feel better because it relieves some of the pain they experience due to their mental health issues.

Learning that mental health issues and substance abuse often occur together might surprise you. There are a lot of examples of how people use drugs and alcohol to cope with mental health issues, such as the following:

  • A veteran who uses drugs to deal with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • A young person who drinks to avoid feeling stressed out or anxious
  • A college student who uses stimulant drugs to deal with depression
  • An overwhelmed mom who uses drugs to help with bipolar disorder symptoms
  • A teenager who smokes marijuana to help with symptoms of an eating disorder

The best way to treat co-occurring disorders is to do so together.

2. Using Alcohol and Drugs to Relieve Stress

Having a high level of stress is a well-known risk factor for drug and alcohol addiction. Stress can affect the body and mind in a complex way. Physically, the body is designed to react because of certain hormones. This is what is known as the “flight or fight response.” People often experience:

  • An increased heart rate
  • Digestive problems
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

Mentally, people will frequently pick up certain “nervous” habits. Eventually, it becomes more than they can handle. As a result, they’ll give in and use addictive substances to get some relief.

3. Using Prescription Drugs Without Fear of Consequences

People are frequently surprised that they’ve become addicted to prescription drugs. While many are labeled as addictive, many aren’t, and they’re not required to be by law.

In many ways, experts believe that women might be more prone to become accidental addicts. This is because they receive most of the prescribed painkillers in the United States. They are also much more likely to go to the doctor than men in the first place. In addition to this, many of the conditions that require prescribed drugs are those that affect women more often. Female hormones can also make them more susceptible to getting high on these drugs. Therefore, they might be more tempted to use and abuse prescription medications.

4. Using Drugs and Alcohol to Find Relief from Painful Memories

It’s also very common for people to use drugs and alcohol to find relief from painful memories. They turn to substances because it gives them a reprieve from experiencing that pain, whether from the loss of a spouse or a child or a specific traumatic event during childhood. Numbing emotional pain seems like the logical answer for many people struggling with addictions. But eventually, the emotional pain will return—and when it does, it will do so with a vengeance. At that point, the pain of addiction will cause the person to carry more than double the burden.

5. Using Increasing Amounts of Drugs and Alcohol to Chase a High

A rising tolerance level is one of the most common signs of addiction. People usually find that they periodically need to increase the dosage of the drugs they use. Sometimes instead of increasing their dosage, they’ll experiment in other ways. For instance, someone who once smoked heroin might begin to inject it instead. Someone who used to swallow their prescription pain medications might start chewing them. All of this to go after that very first feeling of being high.

Find Addiction Treatment in Idaho at Northpoint Recovery

At Northpoint Recovery, we understand the pain of addiction and can help you find an excellent drug or alcohol detox facility to start the addiction recovery process. Contact Northpoint Recovery today at 208.486.0130 to learn more about the causes and reasons for drug and alcohol abuse and how we can help.